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Ontario pharmacists look to expand role during Pharmacist Awareness Month

BY David Salazar
TORONTO — March is Pharmacist Awareness Month in Canada, and in Ontario, local pharmacists are working to make sure Canadians know pharmacists can do more than fill prescriptions and help deliver on health outcomes, and pharmacy organizations are working to make sure pharmacists can offer as much as possible to patients. 
 
“Besides dispensing medication, Ontario's pharmacists are administering flu shots, performing medication reviews, adapting and renewing prescriptions when appropriate as well as prescribing medications to support smoking cessation efforts," said Sean Simpson, chair of the Board for the Ontario Pharmacists Association. "This expanded practice has been successful in Ontario, and there is so much more pharmacists could be doing to improve patient outcomes if the government supported the expanded scope initiative.”
 
Though pharmacists in certain other provinces can provide immunizations beyond a flu shot and even prescribe treatments to common ailments, Ontario pharmacists are limited to the services that Simpson described, and he sees promise for patients in expanding what pharmacists in Ontario can do. 
 
“Ontario is one of the last provinces to empower pharmacists to treat common ailments such as diaper rash, athlete's foot and pink eye, as well to authorize pharmacists to administer vaccines for travel, HPV, pertussis and shingles, to name just a few," Simpson said. "Pharmacists are highly trained medication experts and giving them the ability to provide these services will have a significant impact on patient care, as well as on cost savings."
 
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Walmart appoints new VP health and wellness transformation

BY Michael Johnsen
BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Marcus Osborne last week was named to the role of VP health and wellness transformation, according to a series of internal memos obtained by Drug Store News' sister publication Retailing Today that outlined a number of new postings. He will report to George Riedl, SVP of health and wellness. 
 
Osborne previously served as vice president of health and wellness payer relations. In his new role, Osborne will focus on driving the strategic vision, business development and key initiatives for the transformation of the health and wellness business.
 
Osborne played a role in the implementation last year of Walmart's Healthcare Begins Here initiative, an in-store program to educate customers at Walmart pharmacies about their health insurance options and the benefits and costs of one plan over another that was featured in a Drug Store News special report on Walmart's health initiatives. To help deliver on that promise, Walmart partnered with DirectHealth.com. 
 
Looking forward, Osborne will help deliver on Walmart's current edict – delivering on Walmart U.S. president and CEO Greg Foran's strategy that revolves around "winning with stores, delivering value, being great merchants and providing convenience," Retailing Today reported. 
 
 
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HDMA honors Mutual Drug’s Hal Harrison

BY David Salazar
ARLINGTON, Va. — Hal Harrison, Mutual Drug Co.’s SVP operations and incoming CEO, was honored by HDMA at the association’s Distribution Management Conference and Expo in San Antonio. Harrison received HDMA’s 2016 Distribution Management Award for Industry Leadership, for which the association’s Industry Relations Council member executives chose him. 
 
“Hal has not only been a longtime supporter of HDMA, but a respected industry leader who has promoted the importance of building partnerships with his supply chain colleagues,” said HDMA President and CEO John M. Gray, “We are pleased to recognize his many contributions to the healthcare distribution industry.”
 
Harrison — who takes over as CEO of Mutual Drug after current CEO David Moody, Jr.’s retirement on March 31 — has been in the industry for 35 years, starting at AmeriSource, where he eventually became the company’s corporate director of forecast management. He has been at Mutual Drug since 200, where he began as director of purchasing. As SVP operations role, he oversees the company’s finance, warehouse, purchasing and information systems while also serving as VP of Mutual Drug’s Carolina Allied Pharmaceutical Services generic program and buying group. 
 
“Hal always delivers the highest level of service to his customers, and he challenges every person and company he collaborates with to do the same,” said Mike McBride, Upsher-Smith Laboratories’ VP partnerships, who has worked with Harrison on HDMA’s Industry Relations Council and at Mutual Drug. “Hal’s deep knowledge of his customers and the industry, coupled with the integrity that he displays in his business relationships, place him among the leaders deserving this recognition from HDMA.”
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